Formula One

 
                      === German GP back in Hockenheim ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA (Sports  Network) - The 2012 Formula One season resumes this
 weekend  with the  German Grand Prix, which returns to the 2.842-mile, 17-turn
 Hockenheimring circuit.
 
 With nine of 20 grand prix completed this season, Fernando Alonso from Ferrari
 holds  a  13-point lead over Red  Bull's Mark Webber in the world championship
 standings.  Webber  won the British  Grand Prix  earlier this month and joined
 Alonso as the only drivers with multiple victories so far this year.
 
 Webber's  teammate,  Sebastian Vettel,  the two-time defending F1 titleholder,
 trails Alonso by 29 points, while McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is 37 points behind
 the  leader.  Hamilton won last  year's German GP,  which was contested on the
 3.2-mile Nurburgring circuit.
 
 "(This)  weekend  will mark  my  100th  grand  prix," Hamilton  said.  "That's
 incredible,  because I still remember my first as if it were only yesterday. I
 guess Formula One has that effect on you.
 
 Hamilton  started on  the pole  and won  at Hockenheim  during his  2008 world
 championship season.
 
 "It's  always been a  regret of mine that I arrived in Formula One too late to
 race  on  the classic, old Hockenheim  layout, where the track disappeared for
 miles  into the forests and was only broken up by a couple of relatively high-
 speed  chicanes," he  said. "It must have been incredible battling around that
 track  with  minimal downforce, locked  in a slipstreaming battle with another
 car  and  waiting for just  the right moment to  pounce and overtake. Still, I
 very much enjoy the updated track."
 
 Vettel  is among  the five  Germans competing  in front  of their  home crowd.
 Mercedes  drivers  Nico Rosberg  and  Michael  Schumacher, the  seven-time  F1
 champion,  as well  as  Force  India's Nico  Hulkenberg  and  Timo Glock  from
 Marussia are the others.
 
 "Hockenheim  is  only half an  hour away from my  home town (Heppenheim), so I
 have  a  lot of friends and  family there, and  it's always a special crowd to
 race  in  front of,"  Vettel said.  "I've driven on  that circuit in different
 series,  and  it's always been  great. The campsites  near the new circuit are
 fun,  and  it's special to  meet the  fans there. I  haven't won the German GP
 before, and of course, I would like to."
 
 Vettel  has  finished second, third  and fourth in  the last three German GPs.
 Schumacher has won this race four times (1995, 2002, '04 and '06).
 
 "People  often ask  me whether there is  any such thing as a home advantage in
 such  an  international sport  as ours, and  my answer is,  perhaps not a home
 advantage  but  certainly a home-race  feeling," Schumacher said. "As a German
 driver,  you naturally have a different sense of excitement when you arrive at
 the German Grand Prix, and know that all the spectators in the grandstands are
 supporting  you.  That makes you proud  and always boosts your motivation even
 higher."
 
 Schumacher  finished  third in  the June  24 European  Grand Prix in Valencia,
 Spain.  It  was his first podium  appearance since coming out of retirement in
 2010.  Schumacher  took a  three-year break  from the  sport following the '06
 season.
 
 When  the German  GP was last held  at Hockenheim two years ago, Alonso won it
 under a cloud of controversy. Felipe Massa was robbed of a potential win after
 his  Ferrari team instructed him to move aside and allow his teammate, Alonso,
 to take the lead with 20 laps remaining.
 
 Shortly  before Alonso  made  his  winning pass,  Massa's  race engineer,  Rob
 Smedley, told his driver over the radio that "Fernando is faster than you. Can
 you confirm you understand the message?" Massa finished second.
 
 Hours  after the  race had concluded, F1's governing body, the FIA, determined
 Ferrari  breached  sporting regulations  and fined  the Italian team $100,000.
 Race  stewards determined  Ferrari gave team orders to Massa, which interfered
 with the race result.
 
 Ferrari maintained their action did not constitute a team order.
 
 Alonso won the German GP for the first time in 2005 when he drove for Renault.
 
 Series: Formula One. Date: Sunday, July 22. Race: German Grand Prix. Site:
 Hockenheimring. Track: 2.842-mile (4.574-kilometer), 17-turn road course.
 Start Time: 8 a.m. (et). Laps: 67. Miles: 190.4 (306.458 km). 2011 Winner:
 Lewis Hamilton. Television: FOX (tape delay - noon ET).
 
 
 07/18 23:35:31 ET

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